04 September 2008

Carbon Canyon Crime Capsule #1: The Murder of Horace McKenna, Jr.

3 November 2016:  Terri Lenée Peake, who was Horace McKenna's live-in girlfriend at the hilltop ranch on the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon, published a memoir last year titled 6200 Carbon Canyon Road: My Life as a Penthouse Pet.

It was read quickly over the last couple of days and, whatever its merits are as a literary effort, the information Peake shares about her complicated life with McKenna, which ended when she left him not long before his 1989 murder, is often fascinating.

The story includes her difficult childhood, with a mentally ill mother who committed suicide (as did others in her family); her decision to get into the world of stripping and nude modeling, including the summit of her career appearing as a Penthouse Pet of the Month in 1987; her leaving dancing to marry, raise her two children, and work in movie theater management; and her long and challenging health issues due to breast implants.

Obviously, the heart of the book is her relationship with the mercurial McKenna, who could be terrifyingly abusive and also loving, though, Peake talks about the Carbon Canyon ranch, both with some fondness and some tough memories of feeling trapped physically and mentally.  There are a number of photos of the place in the book, including the property's entrance off Carbon Canyon Road where the ambush that killed McKenna took place.

Towards the end of the book, Peake mentions "a little local blog in Brea called the Carbon Canyon Chronicle" and its post about the murder.  She notes that the post "has since become the personal bulletin board for the old gang" who knew McKenna.

Specifically, Peake refers to the fact that "the editor of the blog commented that the depth and complexity of our feelings about Mac and his murder led him to become more objective and less judgmental" about the situation and quotes from below: " . . . there were human beings involved in this terrible incident . . . not cartoon characters, TV personalities, or film stereotypes, tempting as it might be to think of them that way."  This is followed by a link to this post.

Several pages are devoted to some of those who have posted comments, including John Sheridan, who turned himself in and served time in prison before being paroled several years ago.  The chapter in which this section is contained ends with Peake referencing her own commenting on the post four years ago and her statement about having "mixed feelings" about the aftermath and her not having "any anger left for anyone."  She concludes by saying "I can't imagine living that life again."

The book can be bought on Amazon for $5 in a Kindle edition and from $11 up for print and there are a few copies on eBay, but at much higher prices.  This is not a review, so there is no advice given here about whether it should be bought or not.  If the McKenna murder has any interest for you, though, 6200 Carbon Canyon Road is worth considering for the perspective Peake presents.

10 March 2014:  Yesterday, 9 March, marked the 25th anniversary of the slaying of Horace McKenna, Jr.  As was noted in a comment recently, the house in which McKenna lived was torn down several months ago as the new owner is building another residence on the grounds. 

Within the last few weeks there was a cable program on Investigation Discovery that covered the McKenna  murder (albeit, sensationally with all that entails).  A link to the program is here.

Finally, another blog has extensive coverage of the McKenna slaying and it can be accessed here.

Once again, this story has been, by far, the most visited on this blog and the comments have been many and fascinating.  This was not expected at all, but it has been very interesting to see the traffic and read the reactions about an event a quarter century old, but still notable in Carbon Canyon history.

Original post:

This incident had it all: sex, money, power, police officers turned strip club entrepreneurs and, naturally, violence. To think it has just about been twenty years since the murder of Horace "Big Mac" McKenna at his Carbon Canyon home is remarkable. Even more is how the case was solved a dozen years later when it seemed it just couldn't be cracked.

Horace McKenna and Michael Woods were former California Highway Patrol officers and, in the course of their work, developed enough knowledge of the world of strip clubs to become major players in the industry in the years after their very early retirement in 1977 from law enforcement. The two quickly rose in the strip club universe and, within only three years, were owners of the "Valley Ball" in Van Nuys, and "Bare Elegance" and the "Jet Strip" in Los Angeles and were wealthy, powerful men.

The partners, however, had significantly different personalities. Woods, a slight, medium-built man, was the quiet type, preferring to stay relatively low key at his large Westlake Village home. McKenna, on the other hand, lived large and loudly. He was 6'6", tipped the scales at near 300 pounds, and was an avid bodybuilder. At his home he had a fake Western town facade complete with a boot hill (which would prove ironic); owned Arabian horses and a stable of exotic animals, such as a Bengal tiger and tuxedo-wearing monkeys; and was driven around in expensive cars. There was one other common connection aside from their talent for running strip clubs: their competition for trying to fleece each other.

Matters worsened when Woods hired a young British man named David Amos as a club bouncer. Amos, who was almost as well-muscled and nearly as ambitious as McKenna, quickly rubbed the latter the wrong way, but had Woods' patronage. Soon, Woods and Amos were tighter than Woods and McKenna had been and something had to give.

In the meantime, a steady patron of the Woods/McKenna empire of strip clubs entered the picture. John Patrick Sheridan was a Irish-Chinese high school dropout from Agoura Hills in the western San Fernando Valley who dealt drugs and was an addict from his early teens. Out on bail on drug charges, Sheridan was a "stoolie" for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department and their drug busting arm. When he became a drinking partner of Amos, Sheridan found himself on the other end of an interesting proposal in 1988. Claiming that McKenna had it in for him, which could well have been true, Amos implored his new friend to take on a job that would pay him nicely (in support of his drug and drink habit) and save the life of a pal. It was, however, more than likely that Woods was in fear for his life from McKenna and employed Amos to find someone to carry out the contract killing.It took a few months and even then cold feet set in, but Sheridan accepted his task. He was to lay in wait in the late of night at the Carbon Canyon Road entrance to McKenna's manse and execute a good old fashioned contract killing. In return, Sheridan was paid $25,000 and given a strip club job that, by his accounting, paid him about $3,000 a month.

Just after midnight on 9 March 1989, McKenna's driver, "Bible Bob" Berg, a placid born-again Christian, pulled off the road and got out of the car to open the gate. Berg then got back in when Sheridan jumped out from his hiding place and opened fire with an Uzi he had bought on the street for a little over a grand. The twenty-something bullets erupted out of the 9mm clip and ripped into McKenna's upper body. Berg, terrified, sped off to the house while Sheridan ran for his car. Later, from a convenience store payphone (remember, it was 1989!) Sheridan called Amos to report that his job was done.

UPDATE (19 April 2011):  A longtime resident of Carbon Canyon has related the fact that a motorcycle was found abandoned on its side on the north side of Carbon Canyon Road in Sleepy Hollow.  The recollections was that the cycle was concealed in some bushes at the driveway entrance to the McKenna residence and that the killer used it to drive over to Sleepy Hollow and make the call for the getaway car to shuttle him away.  It would appear that the "convenience store" was what is now Canyon Market, but long known as Party House Liquor #2.  It was also remembered that the automatic gate at the driveway entrance was in the process of being installed by McKenna with the suggestion that, had it been fully operational, the results may have been different.

It was a perfect crime: a remote area, no prints, no tracks, no witnesses to identify the killer or the contracting parties paying off their hit man. It should have been an eternal cold case. Not that anyone for a moment thought that Michael Woods and David Amos were free of suspicion. It was just that there was no evidence to link him to the slaying.

Sheridan, meantime, got his money and his job. Even though he spent two years in prison for a drug bust, he continued to work for Woods and Amos, who continued to make enormous sums of money, substantially pocketed before taxes, and live the high life. Amos, who fancied himself an actor, even partnered with Woods in making two low-budget films--well, just take a gander at these titles: "The Takeover" (1995) and "Flipping" (1997). Amos appeared in small acting roles in the two films (and even acted in three other films, including "Guns and Lipstick" (1995), "Fatal Choice" (1995), and "Dancing at the Blue Iguana" (2000)--all of whom appear to have had some palpable links to his world—and an episode of the television show "Conan" in 1998—while Woods served as executive producer. The first title may well have been chosen for a macabre reason, but the second turned out to be highly prophetic. As it turned out, the low-level Hollywood careers of both men proved less than successful and their strip club partnership also hit the skids when Amos suspected Woods of embezzling money from their business, threatened to take the matter to the authorities, and sought to wrest control of the empire from his former mentor.

According to Sheridan, however, his life took an unexpectedly human turn almost a decade after the killing. First, McKenna's bible-toting driver, clueless about Sheridan's role in the execution of his boss, told the hit man that McKenna's last words were: "Tell my mom I love her." Second, Sheridan's viewing of the autopsy photos of the deceased haunted him. Finally, God followed directly on the heels of a growing, gnawing guilt and Sheridan bared his scarred soul to a Roman Catholic priest.

In the late 90s, a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer working for the Orange County District Attorney's office began to reexamine the case and aggressively interviewed people associated with McKenna, Woods, and Amos. The latter two, fearing that Sheridan might squeal, offered him $10,000 to stay quiet. Once Sheridan had found religion, however, there was nothing else he could do but go to the authorities and tell all.

A significant amount of work still needed to be done, however, to build an airtight case so, for most of 2000, Sheridan took the risky move of wearing a wire to force Amos to incriminate himself. It as a long process, but in late October, there was enough accumulated on tape to arrest Amos. He, in turn, immediately turned on Woods and put on a wire for a meeting with his partner. Once Woods began to get into ideas of how to further cover up his tracks, investigators had enough to collar him as left the meeting.

In September 2001, Michael Woods was indicted for first-degree murder with special circumstances, but the judge struck the special circumstances component, and Woods was convicted by an Orange County jury of first-degree murder in the hit on his old partner and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He did mount an appeal to the 4th Appellate District Court, claiming that his right to to call Sheridan as a witness was thwarted by the prosecution and that his right to counsel was undermined by the use of an informant (Amos) to incriminate himself. In their opinion, however, filed in July 2004 the appellate judges ruled that even though "we recognize the fact the prosecution's actions in this case forced Woods to detour his defense, and put on a different -- possibly less convincing -- case than he wanted" there was no reason to overturn the decision because "we find no misconduct on the part of the prosecution." As to the second argument, the court stated that "equally important, [we] find no diminution of Wood's Fifth or Sixth Amendment rights which rose to the level of constitutional error."

In the court transcript, it was revealed that the prosecutor informed the court of the intent to question Sheridan as a witness, but decided against it. When the defense team tried to introduce Sheridan as their witness, his attorney claimed that he had not completed his plea bargain terms with the proseuction and would, therefore, invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The prosecutor's stance that there would be no agreement executed until after Woods' trial was over led the judge to order a hearing over the crafty move played by the prosecutor. While recognizing that the prosecution had smartly carried out its plea bargain terms with Sheridan, allowing himself to avoid being called as a defense witness, he determined that there was no reason to, as the defense hoped, dismiss the case, declare a mistrial, or strike David Amos' testimony as contingent on Sheridan. The judge, however, did give the defense the option of using Sheridan's statements through the recollections of other witnesses, which Woods' counsel did make use of. There was another reason, however, for the prosecutor to develop the strategy of keeping the Sheridan plea bargain open until the conclusion of the trial. Simply put, the prosecution wanted to keep Sheridan available in case Amos decided to lie on the stand and protect Woods.

On the question of using Amos with a wire to incriminate Woods, thereby pushing the case from investigation to accusaion and necessarily triggering the "right to counsel" issue when Woods could not execute that right, because the police had already surrounded the restaurant where the wiretapped meeting took place and because they were already serving search warrants at his clubs and home, the court offered that "the undisputed facts establish Woods' Sixth Amendment rights were not violated." Namely, the court determined that the case was definitely still in the investigation stage when the Amos meeting was held and that accusation can only come in the formal presentment of charges in court.

Meanwhile, David Amos, for cooperating in nailing Woods, pled on the lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to twenty years. He may well be released from prison in the next few years.

John Patrick Sheridan was given the same plea bargain as Amos and the same sentence. Married to a born-again former nude stripper and a father, Sheridan evidently saw his remarkable confession as a chance for redemption. In December 2001 he gave an interview to Fred Dickey, whose Los Angeles Times Magazine article "A Hit Man's Guilt" was substantially the basis, along with the Woods appeal transcript, for this post and who wrote an article memorable enough to stick in my mind the last seven years until I located it. Notably, Dickey wrote in his article that "Sheridan still can't explain why he did it, why he agreed to coldly aim an assault weapon at a fellow with whom he had no quarrel. Ask him the question a hundred different ways, and he cannot provide a single satisfying answer. Ultimately, an answer emerged: A screwed-up drug abuser committed murder primarily because he was a screwed-up drug abuser."

UPDATE (19 April 2011):  Recent comments to this post include one from someone signing in as John Patrick Sheridan and now released from prison.  He has also indicated that David Amos will be out at the end of April, while Michael Woods has had his most recent parole request denied.   Needless to say, perhaps, but this post has taken on something of a life of its own, being by far the most viewed post of any in at least the last year since analytics were introduced to the blog, and this includes the many comments, some very colorful and others conveying deeply personal feelings.  What this reflects is fundamentally an inherent interest that incidents like the Horace McKenna murder have with many people, especially those who know (or professed to) the principals involved.  As for this blogger, subsequent editing of the post, as well as comments in reply to others, have reflected some change in attitude about the incident and its aftermath.  That is, an interest in trying to be a little more objective in the telling and a little less judgmental than when this post first appeared.


Anonymous said...

It's been many over 20 years since the death of Horace McKenna. Although, I still have fond memories of Mack that will always be locked in my heart forever. I worked in 1989 at the club that is mention in this article.
In addition, I know each one of these men that are discussed in thie article. I can't believe that these guys actually had taken the life of McKenna over a split of $50,000 Greed at it's finest. Moreless, what blows my mind is I could believe that Michael Woods, David Amos and John Sheridan could actually kill them. As their egos and arrogrants toward women through out the club I could see them very capable of such a horrible crime of murder of a life. They have always been greedy and secretive.. David acting like his some ganster for Michael as it showed at the club with my own eyes the action of these men. I seen the trash that David brought to the club " John Sheridan". I actually had taken John Sheridan son to disney land.. I actually allowed John to sleep at my home in the middle of the night he called. Was it the night he murdered McKenna... as I seen him couldn't sleep only woken to a nighmare.. I had a cold caluated killer in my home. When you looked or spoken with John you could see that their was no soul in his eyes. Always laughing and being a hustler.. He loved the girls at the club he though he was James Dean. ha ha Nevertheless, behind that laughter was a Killer.. who had taken a life over $25,000 wow his getting out this year in 2009 for taking a man's life.. A man who lived life to the fullest, loved animals and always treated women with kindness. McKenna maybe been a strude business man but who isn't to be sucessful. To take a life how cowardly of these guys to think that they could take a human life like it was cattle for the market. They will be in prison for the rest of their lives rather the board approves their release. There fore it scares me that I actually assoicated with such horrible people that heartless and greedy with not any heart.. and they will walk amongst us soon as it's unfair they had gotten feed off of our tax dollars and free to walk with the law biding citizens.

Paul said...

Hello Anonymous, thanks for posting your recollections of this incident. I was trying to present what I could of it as fairly as possible and though I got judgmental at the end there, I was hoping to relay something that would be of interest to people. What your comment reminds me is that there were human beings involved in this terrible incident, not cartoon characters, TV personalities, or film stereotypes, tempting as it might be to think of them that way. As you say, Amos and Sheridan do face the possibility of parole very soon, so who knows what will happen there. Again, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for this I was there on the other side with the family of Mr. McKenna. At the time I was his sons girlfriend. This tore up his grandmother and grandfather so much that it was visable and it change his son in ways he should have never had to deal with. Everyone and everything in the begining after the slaying, saying that his father was a thug and a mobster hurt him and made him hard. All of Horace McKenna Jr.'s family have now passed away, including his son of a heart attack. Tragic as it is he now has left two small sons with no extended family to speak of on their fathers side. They are all still so missed.

Anonymous said...

I only recently learned that big"MAC"is dead...MURDERED!! Even more upsetting is to know that it was "Weird" (Mike Woods) that was behind the hit!
I absolutely LOVED Mac, and I can't stand to think he no longer is around. I was his mistress in the late 70s and early 80s.I worked the "Jet Strip" for about 4 years or so. During that time I became close to everyone there, including Woods. But no one could hold a candle to Mac!
He wore a gold and diamond necklace that said "OH FUCK"! The same catch phrase I his son Mike had on his web page. His pants were just perfectly snug, and his silky shirts were always opened just far enough to show off his beautiful manly (rather hairy)chest; and of course his "OH FUCK" pendant too. But I think the entire look was brought all together with his "Elvis-like" glasses. Nothing about Mac was conservative. He lived large and loved with that same passion. He was and always will be one of a kind!
My heart will always have a small place carved out with his name on it. I am so very glad that he was a part of my life; but so very sad to realize that I will never be able to see him,hold him or enjoy his company ever again.
He had a good heart, despite all the other stuff.... I choose to remember him with love. May you rest in PEACE. I will miss you.
Yours forever.....Krystal

Anonymous said...

I worked for these people in the mid 80's - Oddball Cabaret where Rod Stewart's "Lost in You" video was recorded in May or June 1988; April's Cabaret on Parthenia, Bare Elegance, Jet Strip, Harvey's, Foxey's, and the place that was torched down the street from Harvey's on Hawthorne Blvd for the insurance money prior to "eminent domain proceedings" for the 105 Freeway along Imperial Highway - mere stones throw from the Lennox Sheriff's station.

None of these people were "good." They used people, they intimidated people, they threatened people, and, eventually, they killed people.

Mike and Dave were cowards. Amos thought himself quite the ladies man and tough guy. Their stupidity and greed serves them right.

Amos' homosexual scenes in "The Takeover" were pathetic. Always though he was a closet case.

Mike was just an old pathetic white man living a double life - the one his family knew and then the one from a Leonard Elmore novel.

Mac was the biggest black man I have ever seen. His forearms were the size of my thighs.

One thing I can say, if you crossed these folks, you could, as Mac once said, find 20 ni**ers knocking on your door at 3 AM some morning. Being retired CHIP's, you would have both sides of the law looking for you.

P.S. Notable dancers that worked for us in the 80's: Adult film stars Candie Evans, Lisa (daughter of David "All My Children") Canary, and Julie K. Smith - February 1993 Penthouse Pet.


Anonymous said...

I was one of the many girls into Scientology on the Hollywood adult entertainment scene back then. Scientology is expensive so with the help of my Reg I met a guy named Bell, learned the ropes, and started working at the Kit Kat around 1980. But, Eddie Nash was a pig compared to Mack. You know what Nash made you do to him to get the job? He always said he cared for the dancers, but I found that disingenuous, after meeting Mack at the Star Strip. He wasn't around there much, but I think that was his limo that we used to entertain the guys parked out on the street on La Cienega. I think it was the one he was killed in.


Rachel Felix, aka Misty, Cassandra, Nancy

Paul said...

To the several "Anonymous" commenters to this post: Reading those comments was certainly an unexpected result to this post. I originally had an editorial comment at the end that suggested anyone associated with the world that Horace McKenna was involved in was "screwed up," but I removed it, because I'm not sure it's my place to say. Like most things in life, that world is probably far more complex than anyone outside of it would understand. At any rate, thanks for the comments about what is undoubtedly one of the most interesting aspects to the history of Carbon Canyon.

Anonymous said...

Have either Sheridan, Amos or Woods been released on parole yet?

Paul said...

Hello Anonymous, my understanding is that Amos and Sheridan were eligible for parole after ten years, but Woods would not be until 12 1/2 years. This would mean the former two could have hearings very soon and the latter in 2013 or so. Thanks for checking out this post.

Anonymous said...

In the early ‘80’s I left the USMC after six years of active duty and became a college student. Desperately needing money for school, I got a job as a bouncer at JR’s Place where I met David Amos. At the time, JR’s place was a nightclub that featured rock bands, a large dance floor and a full service bar and grill. The owner was Michael Woods; however, the business was actually run by his sister, Madeline. Madeline had a very strong personality and ran JR’s with an iron fist – still, that’s not to say she was not a good person because she was. For example, when several of her bouncers (all college students – me included) needed money for school books, she gave it to us with no strings attached. When I was sick (a relapse of malaria) for several long weeks, she paid me as if I was there working – again, with no strings attached. She was a very classy gal.
David was an assistant manager/bouncer and newly arrived from England. I believe at the time he was approximately 23 or 24 years old. David and I quickly became fast friends and workout partners. Because I was several years older than David I became in his words “like an older brother to him.” David was very tall, fairly handsome and very athletic with a strong boxing background. Back then, David was ever the gentleman, highly intelligent, very kind hearted and had a great sense of humor.
By ’84 JR’s Place was on the decline and being mismanaged not by Madeline; but by her brother, Michael Woods (who continuously interjected himself in the daily operations of the business). Woods came across as an exceeding arrogant and pushy person with a small mans complex. Under his influence, JR’s went from a popular nightclub to a topless bar almost overnight. The name was changed to the Bare Cabaret. I continued to work there for about another six months before graduating and returning to military duty.
David Amos and I continued our friendship via mail and phone calls for about a year after I left. Eventually the letters and phone calls stopped and I lost all contact with him. I left the military in ’88 and became a cop in Dallas Texas. While channel surfing last year, I heard the name David Amos mentioned on an episode of a True Crime TV show.
The reason I have gone into great detail with all this is because like any true friend – even one that has been saddened and angered by the conduct of that friend, I want people to know that the David Paul Amos I knew was certainly not what he became. I am not at all gullible or naïve – no veteran cop is, but I cannot help to wonder what happened to David. Was Michael Woods influence and/or the seduction of the money? Or does the old proverb “beware of running with monsters least ye become one” sum up what happened.
M.E. Witzgall

Paul said...

Hello Mr. Witzgall, thanks for your comment and sorry for the late response (I rarely go back to check old post comments.)

I continue to be amazed at the comments to this post, especially by people like you who knew central figures in this incident.

I'm going to come back to this specific post a little more often in the future and see if there are any more comments on this fascinating tidbit of Carbon Canyon history.

Anonymous said...

Even after more than 20 years, I still check online occasionally to see if there is anything new about my dear friend, Big Mac. I am glad I found this site/article.

I met Mac back in the 60's when he was still a California Highway Patrolman. He was dashing and handsome in his CHP uniform riding on his motorcycle. In those days, Mac loved to play chess and dote on his young son, Mike, later known as Big Mike. It was impossible not to fall in love with Mac, as he loved women and was a TRUE gentleman...yet, even then, you knew Mac was a free spirit that you would never truly tame, so you had to be very careful not to fall too hard lest you get your heart broken...but Mac always came back, you just had to let him go!

I met Mac when I was in my early twenties (in the latter 60's) and we remained close friends until the day he died. What I can tell you about Big Mac was that he was the best friend you could ever have. He was someone you could always count on...if you needed money, he gave it to you, no questions asked. If you needed a job, he gave you one, again, no questions asked...and if you needed a hug or to be loved, Mac was always there with an abundance of love. He was a giant of a man with a heart to match...especially when he loved you for his friend.

When I first met Mac, he lived at his mother's house with his young son, Mike. I used to go there with Mac on occasion...we'd mostly just hang out, play chess and play with Mike. BTW, I hope Michael knew how much his father loved him...Mac was a very strict father (he was in the military prior to being a CHP), and I know they had some issues later on, but Mac loved his son so much! And if you ever met Mac's mother and father, you knew Mac was brought up to love and respect everyone! This was a truly loving family...Mac's mother just adored him and was so proud of her son.

BTW, I remember his CHP partner, "Weird" (Mike Woods), back in those days! It would have been inconceivable to me all those long years ago that "Weird" would murder his friend and partner 20+ years later!

Through the years, I worked on and off for Mac as a bartender. I wanted to be an actress and the job was great toward that end...good money and good hours for going to auditions. Whatever successes I had, Mac was delighted and so proud of me...it was always like he was sharing the success with me like a big brother. I later went to college and got into the legal field. Didn't matter what I did, Mac was my biggest cheerleader and always my best friend.

However, life's experiences forever change people...and to his detriment, Mac loved this topless bar/club scene even when he was still with the CHP. Unfortunately, I never saw the "scene" love anyone back, never saw anyone get out unscathed. Through the years, people Mac loved stabbed him in the back...people he trusted cheated on him. As time went by, Mac grew more wary of those around him. The more money he made, the less he trusted people. Did they love him or his money? Eventually there came a time when he didn't know who he could trust anymore. Mac got involved in some schemes he shouldn't have, spent time in prison...used too many drugs along the way. Nothing new there, that's all been well documented...but I can tell you this man was still the best friend you could ever have...and he did, and still does, inspire loyalty!

The day he was murdered was without a doubt one of the worst days of my life...I didn't stop crying for a week...and, for more than a year, I used to go to his gravesite at least once a week and just sit there and talk to him. It was so hard to let go, still is!

As you can see, Mac was a huge part of my life...and still is! I will love him until the day I die and cherish and be loyal to his memory!

RIP Big Mac...I love you and always will, Liz

Adam K said...

Reading this story brings back memories from high school in Agours Hills. It was there I had met John Sheridan. He was a colorful character with a passion for fast cars and fast women. I remember he wanted to be a stunt man, but I guess that never panned out. It's sad to read how his life ended up, involved with these criminals.
Thanks Paul, for keeping this blog alive.

prs said...

Hello Liz and Adam, thanks for your comments and visiting the blog. As I've said before, the response to this entry amazes me. There have been many more visits to this entry than anything else on the blog--testament to the unusual nature of the McKenna murder.

Anonymous said...

WOW, What a way to start the day, finding this blog. Yesterday I was going through some old file folders looking for a document I needed and found a folder containing copies of the newspaper article written about the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for Mac's murder.
I left the folder out on my desk to show to my husband who wasn't around the club scene with me and has only heard the stories.

Out of curiosity I did a search for Horace Mckenna just to see what might come up and found this,

As I was reading the comment posted by "anonymous" that starts with Aloha, I just knew that it was written by my onetime friend and roomate Krystal.

The memories have come flooding back to the point of being overwhelming. What a crazy time that was.

One thing is true. Mac was a force of nature and larger than life. He was a huge influence on many of us girls that worked for him and I will always remember him with love.

K mentioned the OH FUCK necklace that he wore but forgot about the hotel style door tag that (I think she bought for him) hung on the outside of the upstairs office door at the THE JET that said "QUIET! GOD IS SLEEPING!"
That statement pretty much summed up how we felt about him.
There wasn't anything we wouldn't do for the man and he would have given us the shirt off of his back if we needed it.

Krystal if you still check this blog, you should know, that in spite of how our freindship ended, I still remember you with love also.
We both have 50th birthday's coming up in December if memory serves me. So if you should happen to read this before then HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

prs said...

Hi Anonymous, glad you stumbled upon the blog and that you have added another in a long line of reminiscences about Horace McKenna. This post is the most viewed of the few hundred that have been done on this blog--obviously this has an interest far beyond what I thought it would. Thanks for checking it out.

Anonymous said...

Weird, Amos is credited with a small part in some recent low budget movie, "Without a Father" - is that a mistake, someone with the same name, or is he actually out?!? (And still trying to get into movies???)

prs said...

Hi Anonymous, this is not the same David Amos--far from it. Check these Facebook links!



Thanks for the visit and comment.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I never knew big Mac, but I watched the story on Tru tv the other day and thought how GREEDY woods must have been. I am angry the judge was lenient on him. He should have been looked up with no chance of parole. For a little rat like woods to do this to someone that brought him into the business was unthinkable. For those of you who knew big Mac, thanks for sharing your stories he really was a gigantic man who could have taken care of all those three fools by himself. RIP.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity (saw the Epi on TV tonight I googled and stumbled on this blog. In reading the comments I noticed some drama queen who titled himself 'Phantom' and claimed to have worked at one of the clubs said that Mac was 'the biggest black man...', and no one has challenged that. Now neither the pictures I just saw on TV nor the video clips of his son portray black men so what gives? Why didn't someone call this wanna be on his BS since he had nothing nice to say and pretty much all of the rest of you do?

And Krystal and T, happy birthday wherever you are. I hope you can be friends again.

Anonymous said...

Big Mac my friend and was Cajun his mother was white French and from the New Orleans area is father was black and was once tried for stabbing a man Mac respected his family . There are only a few people who know everything about Mac


X said...

Wow I worked for the clubs also and I remember he was a brutish thug with no soul. As anonymous said you could find20 N##@rs at your door if you crossed Mac which is what he threatned people alot with. As far as Johnny having no soul anonymous, he redeemed himself thru his confession to the police. While he may hv been nice to some people let us not fool ourselves on who he was. I have been friends with Johnny for many years and still stay in touch with and when he gets out I will be picking him up. While there is no justification for premeditated murder Mac was a thug.

Anonymous said...

Wtf! That last thread u posted was a joke. Right. Ur boy didnt redeem shit. Lets get sumhn straight he only reason he confessed was cuz he feared amos an woods were gonna kill him. Lol ur a joke an u r gonna burn n hell wih sheridan. Ur prob sum coke head that hung around the clubs an got no ass with ur snotty nose an atitude. Thats y u dont post ur name cuz ur a coward like ur boys. Ges what mac owned those clubs. Woods was only there cuz mac brougt him n 2 it. Without mac. Woods amos or sheridan wld of nvr. An. Ya mac messed around wih sum drugs. Like everyone did nothn big. How many coke heads do u c with a body like that. Mac was gods gift of man. An he took advantage of it. So what. Threatened people. With that frase. U say. Lol. That was a warning dumb ass. Dont fuck with him if u do ur gonna lose. Id like to c what u look like. Mac nvr killed n e one an nvr wld of. He defended what was rightfully his an was getn sccrewd by some1 he called a friend. I wld b pissed. An u talk down on a dead man cuz thats the only time u cld u wldnt dare say that to his face. Ive got nothn but respect for dudes like mac that handle there own trash an dont get someone else to cuz they cant. I feel bad for macs son an his animals. He was a great man who loved his family and his animals. Rip big mac

Anonymous said...

You call X a coward because he didn't post his name and then you go off and do the same thing.

- John Sheridan

--yeah I'm out :)

x said...

Hey Johnny glad your out hope to see you in the next day or so.

x or xman or Xavier

x said...

BTW I'm no coke head


Anonymous said...

Oh my. David must be out too then, as well as Michael.

What kind of jobs will each of them be able to get at this point? In their mid-fifties to late 60's respectively.

Are their finances still intact? Did Woods' wife divorce him or are they still married?

I'd imagine it would be somewhat difficult trying to cope now that they aren't club owners anymore with all the attention and regular cash that goes with that.
How do you go looking for work/a second career and what do you say?

John said...

David is getting out end of next month. Mike is doing life, he doesn't come up for parole for another 10 years or so. His appeal was rejected. They both still own the Jet Strip, sold the other two clubs. Unfortunately Big Mac's son died a few years back. Yes, I was a bad guy and I did some very bad things, but make no mistake, Big Mac was no Mother Theresa.
To the Anonymous at the top. I know who you are, you never took my kid to Disneyland, we all went together. I never slept at your home, I crashed at the party at Chateau Marmount where you happened to also be at. And it was my souless eyes that you called when you needed help, long ago.

John Sheridan

Anonymous said...

I dont know any of these guys personally, except for Big Mac.
I am Tammy the old bartender from the original Jet Strip.
Big Mac always treated me respectfully. I worked out at his little gym in El Segundo.
I guess most people in the strip club industry are pretty bad.
Greed and power take over.
RIP Mac, you were loved.

Fritz said...

I was probably the ONLY Straight guy in the business. Meaning, that I did NOT Drink, Smoke, or do Drugs. I was an Actor/Stuntman, and worked for Big Mac at his clubs for 9 yrs. If I had to leave for a movie or play, I was always welcome back. I knew Mac, Wierd Mike Woods, English Dave, and everyone else, who i'm sure do not want to be named. I don't know who did who, but someone does. I had alot of good times and I don't regret any of it at all.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember David's good friend, Gary Barton? He did maintenance & cleaning around the Jet Strip. He visited Dave a few times in the big house but no word or sight of him for years now. I know he was close to Tammy, the bartender. Anyone kept up with Gary? Does anyone know what Dave's up to now?


Anonymous said...

Its pretty wild to read this blog now. I remember being at Macs funeral. It was one of the few times in my life I saw my dad cry. Him and Mac grew up together and Mac was probably his closest friend. My dad is Jesse Turner and My mom is Brandy. When I talk to my Dad about those times in his life he just gets a big smile and talks about the fun he had, and the stuff that went on in those bars. Its funny how so many people remember you in so many different ways. Mac im sure was no saint, but I will say that nobody deserves to go out the way he did. You guys be easy.

Tim Turner

Anonymous said...

I don't know any of you and I was only 11 when this all went down. I was going to school at Olinda Elementary in the canyon less than a mile away from the entrance to McKenna's home. I lived just outside the entrance to the canyon in Brea.

What I can say is many years later I dated a girl that lived in that house and I was terrified every time I got out of the car in the middle of the night to open or close the gate. What an eerie spot in the road. I also was very familiar with the stable area / western town facade.

I am in no way condoning what was done, but I have this feeling McKenna got involved a business that is just awful. It looks great to anyone looking for a good time on the outside but the internal struggle for power and control has to be monumental. Then mix in Los Angeles, money and drugs and things go poorly fast. You're not dealing with fellow cops anymore, you're dealing with business, shady business.

To come online and bash anyone involved in this (referring to the post about Sheridan) seems a little immature. People commit crimes and do their time. I'm one to let go (this doesn't mean forget). People can change, some do and some don't. As for McKenna being 6'6" and over 300 lbs. that's about as intimidating as a man can get if he decides to get angry or show some control. I didn't know the man so I am not judging, just saying it's not out of the realm of possibilities that a guy like that would scare the shit out of just about anyone if he wanted to.

As for the entire story, anytime someone loses a life it's tragic and especially for the reasons that appear on the surface of this story. What a great blog for those of us who grew up in Brea.

Walk a straight line Sheridan and RIP McKenna.

prs said...

Hello Anonymous of 27 August, I continue, as I've said before, to be amazed at the response to this post, though I'm not sure why I should be. This is a fascinating aspect of Carbon Canyon history, but clearly has hit a nerve with people who knew the principal figures. You're the first person who lived in the area at the time that has commented on this and I was waiting for that. Anyway, thanks for the comment about the blog generally, as well.

John Sheridan said...

Anonymous of June 10, 2011. David Amos is out and about now. As for Gary Barton, last I heard was he burned David for some money and skipped town. This what I heard from people in the know.
Anonymous June 29, 2011. I am sorry that my actions 22 years ago caused you some distress when you were growing up. Thanks for the kind words and all. It's very much appreciated. As for walking a straight line, I am and will continue to. I've got my family, my health and my freedom and it's more then I deserve, and I'll not jeopardize it again.

Unknown said...

To Johny, you always were a crazy bastard I remember you slapping oddball stickers on my back as you gave me a pat While I was trying to deal with carls crazy shit.I worked at all of mike and Davids clubs quite a while but after mac.
It is interesting to read these comments. a remember asking people what they thought about mac and I got a very different picture from the people I talked with I saw a lot of people come and go from the clubs over the 10 years I worked there some I was glad to see go some I was sad to see go, I remember joking with kyle that it was like survivor.
Good luck with your life Johny hope you've learned something.
Greg the sound and lighting guy
P.S. What happened to dan bohannan?

Anonymous said...

I saw Big Mike McKenna's pic in a "Photobomb" of all things..http://thisisphotobomb.memebase.com/2009/12/14/conventional-bomb/
2 hours later I find and read this whole article! And its current! It was great to read the different perspectives on that tragic event. I really enjoyed learning the little bit about Big Mac's family and sad to think they are all gone now..

John Sheridan said...

Greg, How are you doing? We have to get together some time. Here's my email address my son set up for me. thechokemaster@gmail.com
Dan Bohannon got out of prison but Steve Hagamann is not as lucky. Here's a recent picture of Dan Bohannonhttp: http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/cgi/prosoma.dll?zoomAction=Box&zoomAction=clickcenter&zoomAction=clickoffender&lastName=bohannon&firstName=dan&Address=&City=&zipcode=&searchDistance=.75&City2=&countyLocation=&zipcode2=&SelectCounty=&ParkName=&searchDistance2=.75&City3=&zipcode3=&countyLocation3=&schoolName=&searchDistance3=.75&City4=&zipcode4=&countyLocation4=&refineID=&pan=&distacross=107211&centerlat=38409907&centerlon=-121514242&starlat=&starlon=&startext=&x1=&y1=&x2=&y2=&mapwidth=525&mapheight=400&zoom=&searchBy=namelist&id=&docountycitylist=2&OFDTYPE=&lang=ENGLISH
He looks much older then the last time I saw him.
So are you still doing the same work? Please get at me via email. Take care, Johnny

Anonymous said...

This is unreal! The David Amos I knew was in Calif. fresh from Britain. It was before he had his nose fixed (and other facial surgeries) which was bent from boxing. I met him outside of a laundromat in Thousand Oaks where I had just moved to. I had the mother of a litter of American Pit Bull Terriers in my car along with one of her pups. We both shared a love of "canine gladiators". David bought the pick of the litter, a huge white male named Bubba. David called him "Bubbs". He and Bubba used to ride around T.O. in his Jeep with the top off- what a pair! David and I became friends-with-benefits (lol)for about two years, in spite of the fact he had a longtime girlfriend. Dave was dashing, sweet, funny, and kind. Money changes people. I'd love to be able to contact him...Kristi

John Sheridan said...

Kristi, You can reach David at the Jet Strip in Lennox, Ca. The phone number is (310) 671-3073. You'll have to leave a message, maybe a few, but he'll eventually get it. Good luck, Johnny

Anonymous said...

Its been a long time, being one of Davids old friends from England I would of thought he would of let me know he was home. Also since my husband died back in the day he would want to know how Bruces family is doing?? Good luck to David anyway I hope his life will be better now. Kim Pond

John Sheridan said...

Kim, I hope you and your family are doing well. I miss Bruce as I'm sure you do too.

Anonymous said...

This is all too weird. I was a dancer from 1981-1986 at Aprils Cabaret. I remember Mike, Dave, and the unforgetalbe big Mac. He was something else. I used to talk to him when he would come in to check things out. Everyone was afraid of him, but I knew a different side of him. We never "fooled around" or anything, he was just keeping an eye on me. I was one of the clubs "money makers" and got treated real well.

Anonymous said...

this is all so weird, like 20 years have come and gone...I started bartending at the Bare Elegance way too long ago when I was only 17, then I worked at the Jet Strip for what seems like forever bartending and then eventually bartended and waitressed at the Valley Ball. I remember all of you, such a tragic end for Mac, but he was a nice guy until you crossed him and then, well everyone knows what the then is. Glad to see you are out Johnny, the last time I saw you was at the Valley Ball. I think Shawn, you and Carl were the managers. Take care.

brandy said...

I remember going to mrs mckennas [macs mothers] every christmas eve, and she made the best gumbo..lol. Jesse and I would be there laughing and talking to macs parents and playing with micheal. Mac would walk in and his mothers face would lite up like a christmas tree. jesse and mack grew togather on the same street from the age 9. When my son drowned he was the first person at my house with a fist full of money. He wasnt aware that we had life insurance. That was just one of the great gestures that he did. I miss him, Jesse misses him.

John Sheridan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Sheridan said...

Thanks 'P'. It's nice to finally be out. hope you're doing well also. Take care, Johnny

Alex said...

life is so strange...I have come to this page many times over the years and for some reason never realized there was a comment section. I was a dancer at the Bare Elegance 1993 - 97
I remember johnny --always thought he was super cute and definitely had eyes full of life and soul , I guess he was young and a bit crazy at times but what do you expect working in a strip club? It isn't the library. I remember his girlfriend crystal was a dancer and then they got married. I worked at the bare then the new bare and left in 1997.

It was shocking to find all this out. I never knew Mac but I am sorry for this tragedy and feel for all the people who knew and loved him . I never talked to Mike he seemed aloof and quiet.
To me David was and will always be a gentleman, handsome and very sweet. I though he was Regal, charming and witty. I remember Madeline very awesome lady.
I never found David or Johnny to be arrogant to women.
People are complex, we can be so many things and still be loving good people. We make choices, and because we are human we make mistakes. But we aren't here to judge, it is easy for everyone to
sit back and talk but we are all doing time in this life and we are all carrying Karma and paying our karmic debts. people are good and bad and good people do bad things and bad people do good things . Forgiveness doesn't make what some did right but it is the way to peace and healing for everyone.

alex aka peanut

John Sheridan said...

You're not the Alex that liked Keanu Reeves are you?
If so I had often wondered what happened to you. Through the years I have wondered what happened to everyone actually. Time rolls on, some of the clubs are gone, and some are still there but filled with different people now.
I hope you're doing well Alex, thank you for the kind words and walk down memory lane. Take care, Johnny

Alex said...

hey you, yes.. keanu?!
haha that is so funny you remember.
I have thought about you, I was reading alot of spiritual stuff on and off during the years, a monk named thich naht hahn in particular really helped me take a step back and consider different perspectives on pretty much everything. My sister spent 7 years in. Yes life rolls on, its strange to look back. Interesting times, you are out for a reason, it's a blessing
I recently heard somewhere out of the darkness the brightest light shines.
take care

John Sheridan said...

Alex, Thank you! I remember you well. You were always such a sweet person. I am glad you are doing good. Hope your sister is doing well too. I am still married to "Chrystal", and have 3 wonderful kids. Johnny 25, Jessica 18, and Josie who turns 12 in a few months. Life for me is great, I have my family, health and freedom. All the things that are important in life, I have.
You take care of yourself Alex, if you ever need anything let me know. I think I posted my email on here somewhere, Johnny

SFTS said...

Wow, this is a real blast from the past. While I never knew "Mac" McKenna, or any of the other players and never was involved in any of their scene, I have been an Arabian horse trainer for more than 30 years now. At the time of the murder, I was working as an assistant trainer at a Riverside Arabian horse ranch called Ex Cel Arabian Stable for a man named Dennis Clifton. Dennis and Mac were good friends, and we had at least three of Mac's horses on the farm in training at the time. I particularly remember a big grey mare we called "Mija", though I cannot recall her registered name. As a young girl of 21, I was pretty much captivated by the life I'd spent all my years on this Earth wanting to participate in -- training Arabian show horses for a living. That night we were watching the television news together, in Dennis' house instead of me being in my apartment. When word of Mac's murder hit the airwaves, Dennis burst out in tears. I vividly recall taking him out for a drive in his Cadillac, and then making arrangements to return the horses to Tara, Mac's hilltop estate in Carbon Canyon, also known as "Gone With The Wind Arabians", the next day. Those are memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Stacy (Johnson) Nichols
Sunlit Farm Training Services
Pinon Hills, California

SFTS said...

Postscript: If anyone knows whatever became of the Arabian horses owned by Mac and his family, or where they ended up, I'd like to know. I presume they would all be dead by now, or perhaps there were foals bred by Mac in 1988 or 1989 that may still be alive, albeit in their mid-to-late 20's these days. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Wow. This blog and all the following comments are totally crazy. From watching Unsolved Mysteries on youtube about Crystal Spencer, to googling "Horace McKenna" and finding this... best 3 hours I've spent at 2:45 in the morning in a long time. I don't even know what to say, just wow. So many views, so many stories barely even touched upon. It was a very interesting read, thank you everyone for participating.

One thing I can definitely take from this though - don't get involved in the strip club business. It's murder.

Terri Peake said...

I have been to this post many times but never posted, I knew everyone involved and dated and lived with Mac. We loved each other for seven years. This is Terri Lenee Peake aka Heaven. Mac had nicknames for everyone. I left Mac even though I loved him. We were planning our wedding when he said to me, 'Heaven if anything ever happens to me take care of the animals', I told him what are you talking about nothing is going to happen to you and he looked at me very seriously and said Heaven just do what I am telling you. I promised. But I didn't keep that promise I being a 26 year old freaked out and decided I didn't want to marry a gangster and live that life always being driven around and not allowed to do as I pleased. I left him many times and always came back. He was and still remains the love of my life. 3 months after leaving he was murdered. I knew that if I had still been with him I would have been killed too I never stayed at the ranch by myself. When Mac left the ranch to go anywhere I went with him. I had ben clawed by Sinbad the panther and hearing both Sinbad and Sheba in the garage use the beams as a scratching post scared me especially at night. So I would have been in that car no doubt. I never knew John but I did meet Milicent at the Palomino in Vegas. She was on the news story on MSNBC.I was shocked that she worked at the same place as me. When I first heard from Rick Baker that Mac had been killed I couldn't stop crying. I was pregnant at the time. So the loveof my life and my son were born in 1989. I wont say anything bad about my mister turtle man which is what I called him due to us finding a turtle outside the Bare Elegance in the parking lot just cruising around. But I was very shocked about Dave being involved. None of us were perfect people I still have dreams and Mac is there in my dreams he is always very sweet. The first ten years after he died I dreamt of him every night, I would think about him and it was my only way to be with him. I know that might seem weird to you guys but I lived in the past. It took a long time to be able to live day by day and not think of him. He told me the last time I saw him Heaven here is my moms number if you ever need anything you can always come home. He sent me a Christmas card Dec 1988 3 months before his death and he wasn't mad at me anymore he wished me well. I didn't know I was pregnant. He always wanted that for me and even offered when we were planning our wedding on horseback that we could adopt if I wanted a child. We went to Disneyland and wrestling matches and the circus he thanked me during those days that I let him be a kid. He had a big reputation to live up to and towards the end of his life was looking to move away from it all in Costa Rica. He never got the chance. I miss you and will always love you I have my pistures and memories, I will see you in Heaven,

Terri Peake(Lenee) said...

PS most of you knew me as Lenee. I remember all of you fondly. Even if the times weren't always good. I wish you all well I live in Hawaii and saw Crystal about 15 years ago leving I club I last worked at here in Hawaii. Small world. It is weird to think that Dave and John are back at the club. I have mixed feelings of course but don't have any anger left for anyone. I can't imagine living that life again. I am only writing today because of the anniversary coming up. Alot of lives were lost and alot were changed forever. Big Mike rest in peace you were a good Son, and of Course Mac Love and Miss you,

Anonymous said...

I never knew Mac, but I know people who was associated with him. I went to his ranch a few months after his death. I loved the scenery of the view over looking Carbon Canyon to the west. And the sunsets were stunning. The ranch sits up on top of the hill, I don't know how many acre's he had, but it was a few.

I went back after the fire to see if Mac ranch survived. As I drove to the entrance, and I could see burnt fence's on the road leading up to the ranch. So I don't know if it survived the fire. If anyone knows please post.

clark fuller said...

This is crazy!!!!!I was sitting here bored in Riverside and happend to think back to when I was a kid living in Chino hills.We would drive through the canyon as shortcut and just for drives my parents would load my brother and I up and head through the canyon and check the scenery.Sure looked different back then.I remember specifically driving through one day with my dad and the long blacktop drive was full of cops.Being a 10 year old boy I wondered what had happened so close to where I lived?Found out a few days later but being so young it was no big deal.

So then the other day I,now 32 was driving through the canyon smoking a joint heading from OC to RIV when I passed that "SPOT" I remember nearly 20 years ago.So when I got home I got on line and simply typed in Carbon Canyon Murders to see if I could find some info and was amazed at the story I read!It was nothing like was explained to me all those years ago.Its so crazy to think I had drivin by that and saw all the drama and now so many years later understand what a horrible situation had occurred in that beautiful spot.

I know I don't know any of you and feel a little out of place on here but just thought it was crazy I passed the scene in action.All the comments are kinda sad and cool.Its cool some of you know eachother and worked with these men.What a crazy time it must of been?

Anyway glad you guys are out and on the up and up...too bad about the big guy and his son.Seems almost like a movie.And I mean no disrespect by that.Cheers all.

John Sheridan said...

It definitely was a crazy time. I'm glad it's behind me.

clark fuller said...

You train @ Legends with Eddie Bravo John?How ironic.I train w 10th planet Riverside. Crazy to read this story and find out one of the main guys trains w my boiiiis.Good luck bud.

prs said...

Hello anonymous of 12 April, yes, the house survived the November 2008 fire. Thanks for the comment.

John Sheridan said...

Clark, Thanks! And yes, Eddie Bravo of 10th Planet is the place to be training at. You're at the right place. Johnny

Anonymous said...

This is a fascinating story! I went to school with Dave Amos in England and knew him very well. The last time I saw him was in the summer of '89 when he came back to England for several weeks. Although he didn't mention anything about what had been going on, I subsequently realised, once the story unravelled, that this was obviously him getting out of the way until the heat died down.

Dave was never an angel as a kid/youth, but he was no different to the rest of us and it's kind of interesting how circumstances can influence certain people to such a degree.

It's really heartening to learn that the main (surviving!) characters seem to have seen the light and have really turned the corner. Good luck to all you.

CarlyLaDiDa said...

Hi, I worked at the club at this time as well, mostly during the day. I was just a kid, barley 18 years old....I don't know if anyone would remember me, I danced as "Jade" I also worked at the Oddball once in awhile, but for the most part it was April's, I worked there for awhile and the only regret I have is the I was so naive, I wish so bad I knew then what I learned not even 5 or 6 years later I could have actually become successful i think and the very least i could have gotten a boob job from somewhere, anyway, I remember when all of this went down, I wasn't close to these people, as I said, I was young and very naive, I just came from an all girls catholic high school, kicked out of my home and the next thing I knew I was dancing naked in front of men old enuf to be my daddy~ i loved it, i really did, i was uncomfortable because i didn't feel like I was as pretty or sexy as the other girls but the guys must have thought i was cause i mad a lot of money. I remember thinking that Mike Woods was sort of like classy, he wore cashmere sports coats and nice shoes, i remember thinking english dave was really handsome but realized that he thought he was too and i totally remember john sherridan too. i remember one nite when i was on stage my shoe flew off and hit mike woods right in the head, oh my god i didn't want to come out from backstage and he was really nice about it and said, " hey cinderella, are you going to come out and serve some drinks or what" but not in a mean way in a funny way, i was so relieved i didn't get fired but i never in a million years would have thought he did what he did, supposedly Mack threatened his daughters is what I heard and that was why but who the hell knows what makes people turn from having a twisted thought to actually carrying out the deed. Somone said GREED and I agree. I only met Mack twice, i was told to bring him and the man he was with (who was dressed exactly the way he was Big black leather jackets and they were both HUGE men) we were to bring them tall waters no ice and straws and we weren't to say a word just place the drinks in front of them and split, well the first time i did so it went fine, the next time, one of the men I don't think it was Mack I think it was the other man, anyway he ordered a tall tomato juice, well i just got a glass of tomato juice myself (to pour some vodka in backstage) and it was bad, bad tomato juice is fizzy horrible nasty shit, let me tell you, so knowing this i ran all the way from backstage to the back where the pool table was and slapped that drink out of the man's hand explaining how it was bad so he wouldn't kill me, everyone got super quiet and all the guy did was thank me, i happened to slap it out his hand, and get back to getting ready to dance in less that a second tho just in case he was gona be crazy he was really nice about it actually.. I know a few of the girls were really affected about what happened and it sucked and i hated the vibe around there after all that happened does anyone remember me? remember piper too? yikes, he was a totally triply person, i hope you all are doing well now and what a trip to come across this and reflect on that part of my life, peace. "jade'

Anonymous said...

I remember going to a party there Mike would have many parties i remember the Knight he had at the entrace and the pool was so nice in the summer. The limo was on the property near the saloon. We had many good times there. RIP Mike you were a good man....

John Sheridan said...

I think you mean Big Mac. Mike is still alive working on his life sentence.

Anonymous said...

I too have very vivid memories of the Jet Strip, Bare Elegance and Wild Goose. Actually the clubs were very colorful , crazy places. And the 80 were too. Mike Woods hired me to dance when I was 20 years old, but could pass for 17. There were 17 year olds there and women in there 40s too. I depised Woods from day one because he overed me work as a call girl. I can't explain it but there is a big difference between dancing in your birthday suit and letting coked out creeps have their way with you. I imagined they were all variations of Mike Wood.
Mack called me Hips and respected the fact that I kept a distance. Which was not easy in Bare Elegabpnce the place was so tiny. His girlfriend "Lena" took that bar out of the normal red velvet drapes and into a pastel pink and gold ish fresh new of tacky. We were always filmed there , and I imagined they watch these video tapes and knew what kind of women we were from the shows we put on. Well, Mack and his Cahill Cabaret. Rows, not Weird who really was a hateful troll. He treated his brother Chuck very badly, and Chuck was out of his element. A lot of us were.
I am actually working on a book that uses these events and characters. Just last week I wrote Mack as Whopper Wilson. He comes alive in the chapter and becomes the real star of the narrative, which is the opening chapter. I have been working on this book for about a year and I had my last chapter, the greater half of its body. Novels are not written in a linear fashion, but it started fall into place with Whopper.
I will,always remember coming in to work at the Goose
( a mom and pop topless buffet and sports bar around the corner from Jet strip) and hearing Mack was dead. A few of the regulars accused me of doing it because i had discovered awfulmthings about how Wood and maybe Mack were blackmailing girls to become prostitutes by using footage of them dancing as leaversge, Threats to send it to mom and dad. I would like to believe that Mack was flamboyant but not like Wood. The man I saw was intelligent, sad, dare I say sensitive? and enamoured of womanhood, but people wear masks in bars like that--a girl has to wear something!
I wonder how Wood could exploit young women as he did and have two daughters at home. I swear he looked at us like we were meat... He never stayed down stairs to flirt. The Brit did. Most dancers saw through him. We didn't trust a man who took longer than we did infront of mirrors. He couldnt take his eyes off himself. i remember Sheriden, he was always under dark cloud after Mack got hit. It may not have been his death alone. Maybe it was all these things that lead up to it long before my clumsy ass took the stage. But the 80s were over, the city would soon erupt in riots and strippers-would soon pay club owners for the use of thier stage.
But we all had to know the ghost of Mac McKenna was never going to let any of us forget him
Ariel Bonzai 81-90 meat rack alumni

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,
Its me Ginger from Aprils cabaret.
I loved Big Mac. He was always kind and respectful towards me.
And back in those days, dancers or anyone who was employeed at a strip club, was looked down on.
Not Mac, he was nice to us all.
I am happy to hear so many of us are still alive from those days.
We all had so many big dreams.
I knew enough to stay away from mike and dave. The rest of us, we were like a family.

Anonymous said...

Oh the stories I could tell! When I think of the 1980's. I worked @ April's, The Odd Ball and the Jet Strip from 1986 to 1988 as a door man. I also worked for "English Dave" and his brother Tony(who was never involved with the clubs) at Dye Tech. We were NEVER EVER to talk to Mike or Mac.If we needed to speak to Mike,We spoke to Dave. If we needed to speak with Mac,We spoke to "Tony". I always liked Dave. He was always happy to talk to you and make sure everything was good with you.

On my 18th birthday a couple of my buddies from high school took me to Aprils Caberet. I remember walking through the front door,paying the 8 bucks to get in and having the time of my life. Here I was an 18 year old high school student hanging out with hot naked chicks.About an hour into my visit a couple of Mexican guys who smuggled in booze got out of hand and grabbed a dancers butt. I small doorman (who I found out later was the manager)Was having a tough time throughing these a-holes out. My friends and I helped FRANK toss these jerks out on the street. Frank was kidding around and asked if I wanted a job. I said hell yeah!Naked girls,Free admission, free diet cokes? Oh, and I get paid to be here.Sign me up!!

I was always intimidated by Mac and Mike. Dave on the other hand was a great guy. All the girls loved him and the few guys who worked in the clubs respected him.

I don't think I could have ever thought of anything bad to say about the upper level managment. We knew who was in charge and a little about what was going on but could care less.Mac, Mike, Dave and Tony ran the show and thats all we needed to know.

I have very fond memories of the time I spent working at the clubs in the valley.I often think about the girls I used to work with.

It was a different time thats for sure. We were all looked down on by peers for being involved with the club scene but we were all a big family as well. It did not matter what other people thought. I know for a fact that there wer girls working their way through school, Mothers working to feed their children and others just working there to make an extra buck. I also know their were girls working there to make money for their drug habbit or to support their loser boyfriend who was waiting for his big break as a rock star. It was what it was.

RIP Mac, Good luck Mike and welcome home Dave.

I would love to know if any of the girls who worked at these clubs in the time I was there ever read this blog.

You may all remember me as "Bryan". My real name is the same as one of the above mentioned.

P.S. I am trying to remember the name of one of the guys who worked at the ranch. Short guy curly hair. This guy had a bad attitude and like to treat the girls like crap. If anyone remembers his name please post. He was a giant douche bag at the time. He also liked to wear sweatpants all the damn time.

Shout out to:
Rachell (Regina)
Brandy (Tiffany)
Desiree (Lesley)
Ashley (Kim)
Cha Cha (Jay)
Passion (Ariel)
Natasha (Lynette)
And so many more hope all is well!!


Anonymous said...

Just came across this blog this morning. Many names I don't recognize. I started dating Big Mac while I was working my way through college at the Wild Goose in the early 70's. He didn't own the Jet Strip as yet ,but lived in Inglewood part time at this penthouse with part time hookers. It was a wild and crazy time. He used to have all night parties there and he really got involved in the coke. We didn't date long but he was the best friend a woman could have. As all of the other blogs stated he would give you the shirt off his back if he trusted you. I remember working for him and Weird when Mac finally acquired the Jet. Great money to be made and it got me through college and helped me when I had I was trying to get out of dancing and find a straight job with my newly acquired degree. I don't remember all of the names of the girl's except for April because we danced together and then I guess Weird had her run April's cabaret. What happened to Mac's wife when he lived in Palos Verdes? I worked with her at the Wild Goose. I remember that he said he needed to marry someone because he was going to prison for awhile for some counterfeiting charge. Now looking back, it really was a crazy life and I would never have dreamed that Weird would actually have planned the murder of Mac. Mac made Weird a lot of money.

Does anyone know what happened to Jesse, Mac's friend from boyhood or Bobby from Vegas. He was the one who found and called me about Mac's murder? So long ago but so fresh in people's memories.


John Sheridan said...

As far as I know Bobby Cheslin is still in Las Vegas.
Bobby worked for Mike "Weird" Woods over the years after Big Mac. Even after Mike, David, and myself went to prison, Bobby went back to work for Mike at the Jet again.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Reading all these comments brings back lots of memories . Hello my name is rob i worked at jet strip/ bare - elegance the most as a doorman/ mc i also did some doorman m/ c shifts in the valley at april's caberrat and odd ball thanks to bob berg gen mgr jet strip. I was hired at jet strip by tiffany . And i met mike woods/ english dave / big mac and stuart caldwell Also johnny came in as doorman. I enjoyed working those clubs got the chance to meet a lot of people . The girls were great to work with to mention a few kelly samuals who at the time was dating steve rollin records owner dj who trainned me m/c ing wed nite dance contests at jet and mon nites at bare elegance and tues at aprils . Working with adult film star candi evans and shane who made it in the buissness as a producer wow i remember her first day at jet strip her famous words watch out bucko... The great bartenders paige... Lisa... Cindy..... And then the managers roger waterhouse . Bob . Big jim and james .. There were some sadness when one dancer at bare elegance was found dead in her room also i remember english daves persian girl friend had an fatal acciedent while exiting a helicopter..... RIP girls I miss working in the clubs ... I saw the comments so i thought i would add my 2 cents i hope the best to all former employess of all the clubs who are reading this peace to all...

Anonymous said...

Bare Elegance was fantastic in the summer of 1997.
Also L.A., of course.
What a vacation!

MR said...

Bare Elegance was fantastic in the summer of 1997.
Also L.A., of course.
What a vacation!

Los Angeles, still #1 city in the world.

MR said...

No more activity, here?
All to South Coast Plaza for shopping?

John Sheridan said...

Rob, Don't forget baby sitting the Jet Strip during the Rodney King riots of 92. You, Stoney, and myself.

Sadly, Roger Waterhouse and Bob Berg are no longer with us anymore.

I always wanted to talk to Bob Berg about that night in 1989. Now that I can talk about it.

MR said...

I remember a dancer called Madison...

Anonymous said...

I remember the night when Mac was killed.I saw Mac and Dave in some sort of disagrement.It looked like Mac told Dave to get the F out.
Mac was leaving the club and waved to me. The next day Mac was all over the news.

EastCoast said...

Found this blog while reading up on Wonderland, Launius, Vic Weiss, and now 'Mac'. Thank you blog owner for allowing the actual players to comment freely. Most people who led "interesting" lives long ago never get to trade notes later unless it's in prison or cooperating as snitches. Some of you should write books. Life takes weird turns - Peace to all of you regardless of your involvements.

What I'd like to know is - can anyone here fill someone totally unfamiliar with Southern California but plenty familiar with The Life in on how things worked there back then. Where I am from the mob families were all famous, but LA from the 60s-80s is confusing as hell to an outsider.

My impression is that the cops were about as dirty as they come in general - no surprise. But I need a map to help understand the different crews. Who was Nash with? Weiss? McKenna? Help me out with Armenians, Crips/Bloods/BGF, Italians, Whoever......Please....

prs said...

Hello EastCoast, this blog tries not to censor anyone's comments, which reveal some really important aspects of this intriguing series of events. Spam gets deleted, but very little else. Open communication is the general rule here. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I worked at Bare Elegance as a backup DJ On and off and occaisionally worked with John Sheridan ( As well as Mike Woods and David Amos.) There were rumors About Different Types of crimes associated with the clubs while working there...but it was usually just considered hearsay. I was pretty young at the time and I remember the conversations I had with John usually revolve around his interest in jujitsu. On 1 occasion when I was working there was several customers getting out of hand. They were removed from the club by Johnny. A few moments later I saw Johnny running through the club run upstairs and go into the office come out and then run back outside. It was a brief flurry of activity but then everything settled down. The next shift I worked with Johnny he came over drinking a cup of coffee. On the coffee mug was a photograph of the guy he threw out of the club and choked out in the bushes. This was a long time ago. But this is how I remember it. In an environment that had as many twists and turns he was always seemed pretty straightforward in his goals and for taking care of his family.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading these comments and I am sitting here with my mouth wide open.

I did not know any of the parties involved, but I watched an episode of 'City Confidential" today that covered this story and lead me to this blog.

Some of the comments were so touching, they literally brought tears to me eyes and I am not easily moved.

It sounds like Big Mac touched many lives and his murder is really a tragedy.

Thank you to all who shared their memories of Mac.

One thing that stood out to me was the killer's (John) comment about Mac not being 'Mother Theresa'.


Since when does being a saint (or not) justify cold-blooded murder?

John and none of his cronies are "Mother Theresa" either but they all are still living and breathing by the GRACE OF GOD.

Since John says he is a born-again Christian, I was taken aback by the callousness and arrogance of that statement by him.

No true humbleness or remorse being shown at all. SMH

Only God knows John's heart but based on the few statements he made on this blog....he gets the side-eye from me and others too I'm sure.

Hopefully Mike Woods will spend the rest of his life in prison. He does not deserve to be a free-man again. In my opinion, all 3 should still be behind bars but hey such is life.

John Sheridan said...

I'm sorry you feel that way. I really am. As for my comment, I was making a point. Truth is big Mac was not Mother Theresa and neither am I.

I did what I did, turned myself in, and did my time.

As for remorse, you're right, I do not go around "showing" it to everyone all the time. Nor will I.

Have you ever heard a man die?

Ever hear a man's last dying words?

I've heard them for almost 24 years. Still, Big Mac was no Mother Theresa, but he was still a man, and I killed him.

Anonymous said...

To answer your question....No, I have never heard a man's last dying words nor heard a man die.

You know why???

Because I've never KILLED anyone. And if you hadn't murdered Mac, you wouldn't have had to 'hear' that for the past 24 years.

That was the choice YOU made.

Mac's family and friends did not have a choice. They're the ones who were left behind to deal with the hurt and pain of losing a loved one in such a violent manner.

And I'm sure your family was hurt due to your incarceration. But guess what???

They can still hug you, laugh and talk with you.

Mac's family was denied that.

John Sheridan said...

I'm glad you never came to a point in your life where killing someone ever became a consideration. Hope it never happens either.

Anonymous said...

“I did not know any of the parties involved, but I watched an episode of 'City Confidential" today that covered this story and lead me to this blog”

Still pretty quick to judge though eh? Coz we all know how fair and impartial TV programs are. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

I second that.

Anonymous said...

John I lived in brea at the time all this went down ill never forget how it rattled the community. I read every article and followed the case over the years with a great deal of interest this must have been the sales job of the century convincing you that this would not come back around to you from a legal standpoint. how did you get out of the canyon that night. Where did the gun go why did you spare the driver. Couldn't he have id you

John Sheridan said...

Mike Woods was actually not happy that the driver, Bob Berg, was not killed that night. Mike expected that Bob would be done with Big Mac.

I felt if I could do Big Mac without killing Bob, then that's what I'd do.

Bob never got a look at my face. Later on I ended up working with Bob Berg.

One night Bob Berg was talking about the murder. Told me he could never understand why the shooter went out of his way to not kill him. Said it always nagged at him.

He went on to explain how close in proximity he had been to the shooter before it all happened. How he'd always wondered if it was someone he knew. He even said for all he knew it could have been me.

I had always hoped to talk to Bob Berg about that night when I got out of prison. Unfortunately Bob died a few years back, before I got out and had a chance to talk to him.

Bob was a good guy, a religious guy, who was in the wrong business, wrong place, at the wrong time. RIP Bob.

Anonymous said...

I can not understand why the courts give a lesser sentence to the actual shooter. The shooter always has a choice to do the killing or not. Sheridan may have found "God", but he should be prepared to suffer the same consequences as the person ordering the killing.

John Sheridan said...

Anonymous said...
I can not understand why the courts give a lesser sentence to the actual shooter. The shooter always has a choice to do the killing or not. Sheridan may have found "God", but he should be prepared to suffer the same consequences as the person ordering the killing.

March 31, 2013 at 12:30 PM

To Anonymous,

You're absolutely right. I had a choice, and I made the wrong decision.

As far as being prepared to suffer the same consequences as Mike Woods, I was.

When I tuned myself in, I was facing the death penalty.

"Finding God" as you put it, had nothing to do with my sentence. That was the decision of the courts and District Attorney's Office.

Anonymous said...

It is I THE KINGPIN THORNE PETERS. I was the last person to speak with Big Mack at the club that night. It was an Contest night. Mack spent the evening being his brutish self to the managers, Gino and Jeff. His Limo alarm kept going off and Bible Bob, his driver, had to keep interupting his tirade which made him madder. I escorted him out and as he was about to get into the Limo he said: "A lotta people think that Mack's an asshole . . well f*&k'em!" He bullied so many people, there were endless suspects. I thought maybe the strippers had put out a hit on him. I quit right after that, because the register was getting rifled and I didn't want to be on the hook for the skimming going on. I worked at the Sly Fox and April's Cabaret for them as well. The worst experience in my 35 years in the bizz. Mack was the best of the bad lot and he was my guy, so with him gone I got away from there. There was a lot of shady underhanded business going on around the club with guns and drugs and the bosses were def involved. It was a cliche of the best and worst of strip clubs. I pulled needles out of girls arms and dragged them out to the stage. I was there on the night we brawled an unruly group out the doors and into the parking lot that went on 20 mins and left the parking lot strewn with beat down bodies. But I came of age there and hold onto the best of the memories and the glorious femmes that I worked and played with. I always say that working at the Oddball qualified you to be an air traffic controller and a psychiatrist. Forever ODDBALL!

Anonymous said...

omg Thorne!!!!!!! you were the best dj ever. we had some great ones there too. Scott and Frank. I rember mac getting killed. the news came in b4 the nite was over. it was like ding dong the witch is dead. he would grab girls and attack them in the limo even rape them and keep them quiet with his scary threats. i saw the wounds on gabrielle and helped wipe his cum off her. he was a monster and i stayed away. then the police started questioning us and i said that he was better off dead but i didn't know about it. i just googled oddball cabaret and saw all this. i can't believe that it was chinky dan. but not surprised that it was wierd mike and english dave. we all knew that. Bob the driver was so sweet. we were so glad he didn't get hurt. i have a lot of great memories and specially of you Thorne. you are the kingpin!@!! love to jeff and fritz and the girls, my fav was the goddess sandra who was like 45. she was amazing!!! and of course danger mouse. love to all and good luck dan. you were cool for a druggie. i just cant see him in the bushes doing this. i never suspected him.

John Sheridan said...

Who is Dan? I know everyone but him.

Anonymous said...

It is I THE KINGPIN THORNE PETERS yet again. I think she means you John. I cannot believe it was you. Wierd Mike was telling me one night how there were too many partners in the way and management would make more money if Big Mac wasn't cutting into everyone's share. Then he told me if Big Mac wasn't there anymore there would be room for me in management. Was that a prelude to an overture? It was just a couple of months later when you did the deed. I was in the deejay booth when Bible Bob called and told me the news which I then relayed to Jeff. No one was sad or shocked, it was just bizarre. Days later I saw Bob and he was shaken to the core . . . and there you were getting the story from with the rest of us on the Sunday when we had that meeting and Bob gave us the blow by blow. How he lived for so long with so many bullets showed his mettle . . . he was almost too bad to die . . . but not quite. We ALL knew he got bumped off by the partners and so did the fuzz. We figured they brought in hitmen from Vegas or Europe. To think we were there with the murderer among us talking about how it must have been for Big Mac to get hit with so many shots, when you could've filled in the blanks. We were all questioned by police who insinuated that we had done a hit for Wierd Mike. Even DJ Scott who was fired by Big Mac a couple of months before. So there they were with you and they had their man/they had the right scenario and conspirators but couldn't do a thing about it. Well played . . . until you turned yourself in. A real blast from the past.

Anonymous said...

THE KINGPIN THORNE PETERS some more . . . It is interesting that John (The Executioner) was moved by Big Mac's dying words, which, as usual with dying people, he called out to his mom. When I spoke with Bible Bob, the driver and witness to the execution, I was impressed how after taking all those bullets, he was enraged and hollered for Bob to get his guns.

Anonymous said...

Damn r u serious?! I'd heard and seen way too much! Hell I was a baby myself and had no business in that envirment!!! My aunt lent me use one of her IDs to keep. She actually introduced me to H, Her husband was in the army and in the field a lot. She was one of the bar/food workers and always took me with her. I remember telling my mom about H, I'd had the biggest crush lol he was always slipping me money and kiss my checks and forehead and would say s#it like "women if you were old enough to vote I'd be all over you! (I'm part Black Foot and had the Rain Drop bindi on my forhead which he seemed to fasinate him).I'd call My mom and talk to her about H and she would say Winter, MAC is a huge N0 NO!!! I know a lot of shit you don't Lol. And telling me to be carful I was a dancer not the exotic just DANCED(I was into MJ and Janet back then)! On of the girls was like wow!!! You should work with us! Mac was like no f#cking way "Angel Babe" I'd thought awwwww a father figure looking out! Lol NOT. Let's just say I grew up damned fast! And I shouldve listend to Mommy!!! Lawd the s*it I can just get out my system! Lol I'm going to let it alone.... Just For Now! Its like Pandoras Attic on here! So glad most of you are A+ OK! (Hugs)

P.S RIP Big Mike! He was my Buddy, an amazing friend.

Anonymous said...

Johnny , in my last comment when I signed off saying I'm glad everyone posting was A plus OK! I meant you as well ! How the hell are ya! Do you Still look like you aren't old enough to vote and should be in bed by 8pm?! Lol.

John Sheridan said...

Well thank you very much. :) I'm doing well by the way. As far as not looking old enough to vote goes, I don't know. But what I do know is now I can't vote and I am in bed by 8pm ;)

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to Frankie? I loved that guy! He was cool as hell

Anonymous said...

Do any of you remember Kelley? Tall smoking hot girl with the best personality in the world? Worked at The Jet Strip then at Aprils?(85-87) She drove an early 70's mustang muscle car. She was one of the sweetest girls I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I think about her often....I missed my chance.

Anonymous said...

Anyone remember that big fat F%$# Phil from Aprils. I remember he pushed a couple dancers out the back door wearing bikini bottoms only because they would not work late. English Dave pulled in a couple seconds later and saw what he had done. Phil got his ass kicked!!!!

Dave was a hell of a guy! Always had my utmost respect.

Anonymous said...

Oddball was my 1st job as a dancer. I started just before mac was killed. The managers were assholes and mac eas a beast. they got off and being rude todancers. I went with dj Thorn to Sunset Strip and it was great b/c we were treated w/respect. totally different experience. Dude who said dave was a hellof a guy. he was a killer and a coward b/c he didn't do it himself and got a chump to kill for him. Bad memories all around.

Anonymous said...

I use to frequent the Jet Strip in the late 80's, I was a customer who'd drop in from time to time, I wasn't a friend of Big Mac's but I knew him as the owner of the club. He had an air about himself that I never liked! because of his size I saw him intimidate customers to the point they didn't want to come into the Jet Strip anymore, I don't think he was a bad guy but he wasn't someone I would want to hang around with. The day before he was murdered I saw him at the Bare Elegants which had another name I believe at the time, he was bullying that guy John Sheridan inside the club, the same guy who murdered him! I was with my friends and I said to them that somebody's gonna kill that Mac dude, he's a bully and someone's going to waist him! Well low an behold he was murdered the next day!!! As I said before I didn't know him personally but what I saw as a customer I never liked, he was arrogant and boastful and he kept BAD company and that company got him killed! It's sad to hear about the hardships of his family, I remember seeing his son on TV at his funeral and the pain in his face, I see where they say his son has since passed, sad sad thing how one event can destroy a family, I only hope that Big Mac is resting in peace and that his family finds the strength to cope with it all.

Strip Club Story Fan said...

I wonder what the real truth about Big Mac was. Some people seemed to like him and thought he was cool. Others seem to paint him as a monster who would do anything because of his size, and therefore, thought he could get away with anything; but from what I've seen on different tv shows and from the different accounts, I've read, I can't help thinking there was something likable about this guy. I'm not sure whether the accounts of him sexually assaulting some of the girls is true or not; he didn't seem like the kind of guy who would have trouble getting women or had any power issues since he was the kingpin of the clubs, but I'm not sure. I wonder what John Sheridan could tell us about the whole strip club scene, and his experiences in it, and his experience with all the principals involved in Mac's story, and eventual murder. Would like to read something, at length, on this whole subject, fleshing out some of the details of it all, especially, before the killing. Wonder what Sheridan and Amos are really doing, now that they're out? Is Sheridan still in the scene, and if not, what's he doing? It's hard to imagine some of this stuff; that people would actually do some of the things they did, to someone who started the strip-club empire, they worked in. I wonder what some more of the dancers and people who worked in those clubs and with Big Mac, have to say; I mean real stories. The fact that Sheridan confessed after all those years, and is now a born-again Christian is definitely something to think about. Wonder if he's still married to that woman on that CNBC special who called him a sociopath. I thought I heard his wife turned her life around too. All of this is interesting, to say the least. Hope some more comments are posted. There's something to all this that I've never encountered before. So much to figure out, and reflect on. Hope the good people in this story are well. And for the others, well, I hope, in some way, you find a way to get better like Sheridan says he has. I wonder about all of it.

Anonymous said...

Well just scroll and read all of the comments here and you will learn a lot about how it was back then. John Sheridan leaves comments as well.

Anonymous said...

Why no more posts?

prs said...

Hi anonymous, binge viewing of "Breaking Bad" lately has a lot to do with it. Also, trying to pull some material together for the next installment of the recent post on a 1925 photo of Olinda oil field workers. Thanks for asking!

Anonymous said...

Was candie evans that beautiful in person, as on film? How long did she perform there?

Anonymous said...

Candie Evans!! She was so smokin hot and a very sweet girl. That girl would bring in the bucks. I loved working with her. I worked at Odd Ball with here for a long time. I would be so happy to see her name on the board we used to have hanging by the bar(schedule). She was driving a pink and white Pontiac Fierro back then. He License plate was "TKLDPNK". As far as I know she was not on any drugs or a drinker at the club. She had her head in the game and worked her ass off to make as much $$ as she could. Always!! Tipped out the doorman and was always smiling. I think she acted like a ditz just to throw people off. Very smart girl. I really liked her.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, i would have loved to see her dance in person! I bet it was awesome!!

John Sheridan said...

Candie Evans was a very nice girl. I was a doorman in 1989 when I worked with her. She was always nice to me. I hope she is doing well. And yes, she was very attractive.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the gold old days. The Jet strip, The Wild Goose, Bare Elegance, The Odd Ball and Aprils....Had a blast at all of these clubs. Working at for Mack and Mike as a doorman were some of the most memorable days of my life. Some good and some bad but quiet a ride. Lost my Virginity to one of the dancers in the ladies room of Aprils. Good times!

prs said...

This might be of interest to those reading the post, but the house that Horace McKenna occupied before his death was torn down a few months ago. The new owner is building a house there after considering a remodel and then learning the structure wasn't built particularly well--so it has been said.

Anonymous said...

Janie n Husband...hello...hi.X . I quit BE in 96 when I got prego! Worked Days w u all (Marni ; ) Dawn, Chris, Miss You All!!!!
God Bless You All!!!
Kim aka Cody, Roxanne, Taylor, can't even remember all the stage names I used, lol. I still have the pics of all u girls at my baby shower at Tinas house. Email me @ misskimsmail@yahoo.com if u want. I was the tall blonde pothead lol. Dancing helped me pay for college and I have my Masters degree now! Marni was so fun we used to blow up each others cigs lol. Well I missed Celeste, miss u all! Crazy fun times us girls had there. Crazy story I heard about it back in 2005 & just could not believe it, but knew it was true. Most of the girls had a feeling Mike Woods killed Or had hired someone to kill his silent partner, who I never met. Sad story . Glad I could say "hello" here.

Anonymous said...

It's me Kim aka Roxanne, Cody, Taylor...
God can restore, don't think Johnnie is using that as an excuse, he has repented his sins and I believe from here on out God is the only judge. The case was closed. Johnny stepped up and admitted his sins, if not for that the case would still be unsolved. We all sin, we are also all supposed to forgive. I am sorry for the families of all involved. It was very wrong. I hope for us all to find God and praise Him, and be humble. I'm sad it happened but glad Johnnie has turned his life around.

Anonymous said...

The shower was at Annas house, Tina,.Celeste, Janie, and Marni were there. You girls are the best!
Love Kimberly

Anonymous said...


John Sheridan said...

Thank you Roxanne. Hope you're doing well. Johnny

John Sheridan said...

For all the old time club people. I have some sad news to share. Carl Salvati passed away in the hospital February 17th, 2014. RIP my friend. Was a good man and a great friend.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I remember that David Amos had there most flawless body I've ever seen in my life, smelled incredibly good, and gave the best hugs in the world, until every ounce of tension melted out of your body.

I never knew he had such a cold streak or was capable of arranging a murder for hire.

I guess the option of murder seemed preferable to leaving the strip club business and doing something else for a living.

Yet the price he paid for that choice was enormous, eleven years of his life gone, living in a cage without freedom or fresh air.

Karma is relentless. You take away a life, and yours is taken away. An inescapable balancing of the scales.

The whole thing makes me sad, that it ever had to come to that. For everyone involved.

Alli said...

Thank you for sharing your memories. I really wanted to hear about the dynamics between the victim and other "players" in this story. It was hard to understand some of the things you wrote but the important thing is you have your memories of Mack.

Alli said...

Mac was so important to you that you "can't stand" to think that he is no longer here? Yet you just recently (2009) as you say, found out that he was murdered and no longer here? Just as the killers are due to be released. Please! If you cared you wouldn't just now be learning of his whereabouts! Crawl back under the rock.

Alli said...

Never heard of any if the "notable" dancers you cited. Lmao

Alli said...

Wow! That was the most difficult thing to decipher . Do you know how to spell properly or use the English language? What an embarrassment!

Anonymous said...

I remember when your Dad was shot in the hand .

Frankie said...

i see someone asked what ever happened to FRANKIE? i'm happy to inform you he is STILL cool as hell

John Sheridan said...

Good to see you're doing well Frankie.

Alli, What's the matter?

Frankie said...

yeah it wasnt YOU that asked but whatever

Frankie said...

Hey i see also someone asked about Gary i'm happy to say Gary is doing fine and is still the great guy he always has been kind, honest and funny and fully recovered from his shady automobile dealings with yes you guessed it... Jonny

Anonymous said...

Hey, does anyone remember a guy named Gary Barton that worked around the Jet Strip club and what ever happened to him?

Missus C said...

I just came across this- and am kinda bummed to read that McKenna's former house on Carbon Canyon was torn down. The whole setup of that property was amazing-the pool, the stables, the mini ghost town (guess the house wasn't built so great though huh?). Mac's son Mike had friended me via a local hangout (Bennigans) just shortly after his dad's passing. Being there at the house (even during Mike's rager parties) sometimes had an eerie feel, and sometimes Mike would walk around with a gun in his hand like it was no big deal. He usually had one (or two) under his bed also, as well as a baton and baseball bat. I believe it was growing up, watching what his father did, seeing the results of his father's actions, Mike grew to be a very cautious, sometimes paranoid individual, which always struck me as quite sad. He was a great guy (Mike), total gentleman and very funny. I was saddened to learn of his passing a few years ago. When we'd hang out he'd sometimes tell me he feared the "McKenna curse"- or something to the affect --of someone his family knew in NoLa cursing his family bloodline. At the time I thought it was "just talk" but some of the events that occurred made me question its probability/possibility (However at the same time, Mike's fave drink was Jack and Coke, which he enjoyed a lot, along with the rock and roll lifestyle+6'7" stature+overworked heart, no bueno). Hopefully, if there is a curse the curse has since been removed. It was hard for Mike to deal with the passing of his dad, especially considering the manner in which he passed. Shame that Mike's boys will never get to know family on their dad's side. RIP Mike and Mac, two colorful locals.

Anonymous said...

All 3 should be dead like mac...especially u sheridan...u don't deserve to live..u were just jealous of the big guy!

Bargainholic said...
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Anonymous said...

Nobody ever mentioned , or commented on the official - looking , uniformed SECURITY OFFICER ( with tan sheriffs shirt ,star badge , and green sheriffs slacks ,full on cop belt / gear , cop light ) that used to protect ALL employees , customers ,MGMT. ,Escorted all the dancers in and out of the club,to their cars,on cold nights at 2am get their car started ,closer to the rear door ,turn up the car heater , carried the duffle bags of dancer's gear...rushed in to escort out unruly customers ,kept the peace , monitored the vehicles in the parking lot , always on standby for trouble to arise , alert for drunks and druggers and all other suspicios activities...as well as being asked to run for quick munchies for the GIRLS .He stood on the roof of the Bare Elegance w/ binoculars , swat rifle , 357 Magnum revolver, and an AK 47, during the riots and Los Angeles was being looted and burning to the ground, police cars raced by full of officers ,loaded for bear...with their back doors (legs propped up ) fully open ! Also ,try to imagine being ON GUARD / business as usual ,for the first few weeks after Big Macs ASSASSINATION , and how badly Bob Berger,Mgr. of the jet strip was shaken / traumatized , with no clue as to why it happened , who was responsible, and if, and, when the outstanding suspect might decide to continue his bloodbath mission , needless to say , morale was at an all-time low , You think the GIRLS weren't ( scared , nervous ,crying , quitting ?? ) Very little appreciation was shown that Security Officer , he dealt with alot of negativity / verbal abuse , arrogance and dis-respect ,but he did his job and he did it well , and he didn't let the fast-lane ,get rich quick ,Hey I'm SPECIAL , " I'm only here for the MONEY ,and I'm going to get it any way it takes " environment change his views ,or life.Does anybody recall this guy , that always was ready to assist ? I think he worked for years in the strip club circuit : The new jet strip / lennox ,The Bare Elegance ,Inglewood , and the Wild Goose ,El Segundo area. R.I.P. Horace Mckenna , you are loved. P.S. don't forget to research the date-rape scandal case of Steve Hagamann / Dan Bohannon ( D-J 's and m-c's of wet tee- shirt contests at the Jet Strip back then ) G H B / ecstacy ,knockout Date Rape ,gang-bang photo orgies that was prosecuted in Torrance Superior Courthouse.Dan Bohannan is out of prison after serving 9 years... and after recently crossing his path , I can tell you personally ,He Ain't Nothin NICE...the word JERK is being kind... don't turn your back on him.! Then again that applies to pretty much anyone involved in THIS INDUSTRY. Let's get this party STARTED!! MORE TO COME... Notice how those who are alike and run together all speak well of each other ???

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
prs said...

Anonymous of 11 October, this blog has a pretty open policy on commenting, but anything dealing with direct violence is where the line is drawn.

So, your last comment has been deleted, because of the very end, but, to show as much fairness as possible, here is the rest of your comment:

Johnny Sheridan got 25,000 Dollars CASH , a Strip Club Manager Position , a Brand New , White full-size FORD P/U TRUCK , 3,000 DOLLAR a Month SALARY to pull off a COLD BLOODED MURDER , to SELFISHLY and RUTHLESSLY think of only Himself and HIS Benefit... and does only ( 11 ? ) years... and is released back into society...He has the nerve and the audacity to try and run this blog /site like it was set up FOR HIM , like he is " information central " I wonder what his wife thinks about having a Convicted MURDERER in the house ? Or HIS KIDS ?? Go figure...they DON'T. YOU can bet money his dangerous , crazy ass still has Firearms HANDY... FELON that HE IS !! Oh yeah. the jiu- jitsu / Karate Kid just CHOKES EM OUT... (www.thechokemaster@gmail.com) John Patrick Sheridan . Best to KEEP YOUR DISTANCE . DO YOU THINK HE DESERVES TO BREATHE OUR AIR ? ? ?

John Sheridan said...

Wow, another disgruntled ex employee of the clubs. Yes I know who you are. Your information is not correct and things didn't go down the way you think they did but that's cool. Wish you the best. Life is too short to for this stuff.

Anonymous said...

So extremely interesting to read all this. Although I was a kid in the late 80s, I worked in (mostly) valley area clubs in the 90s until I finished college. Oddball was often a place we went to late night after other (non strip) clubs and bars closed on the weekends. I dated management at other clubs (lol, didn't many dancers!?!?) and of course everyone kind of knew everyone in that whole scene, no matter what clubs they worked at. Of course when you are young and foolish some of this stuff seems exciting and fun, and looking back, no regrets, but I'm glad I could leave 10+ years of that lifestyle and move on to do something else. No one was a saint in that industry. Yes, lots of fun at times, dark fun albeit, but seriously everyone (myself included) was a hustler. I have lifelong friends from those days, although it has been more than ten years since I've ever set foot in a strip club, and if not for my current career, I'd love to write a book. Who knows maybe someday I will. Glad I got out relatively unscathed with sesnse enough to know it couldn't last forever, and I saw shit of course people wouldn't imagine. But this is a really riveting story, and see lots of familiar names and places. Will bookmark this blog. Thanks!

zbielski said...

Trying to get in touch with Jesse Turner (saw that his son Tim Turner had posted), or Liz (she posted on 8/14/10). I have a close friend that used to work at the Carolina West that was an old friend of Mac's. He wants to connect with Jesse or Liz to reminisce and maybe swap some old photos of Mac via email. If you're Jesse or Liz or know them and can put me in touch with either or both, please email me at zbielski333@gmail.com. Thanks so much for the help and hope to hear from you soon.


thedevilcorp said...

Good site.

Anonymous said...

I notice that no one has left anything here in a long time. I started reading the post here a few years back because I was curious how life ended up for the players from those days. Johnny, I'm posting as anonymous to keep my identity out of this but we knew each other very well back then. At the fun house when Bruce shot the fireplace you picked up the slug and said it felt a little light. We went scuba diving with sharks together, and jumped out of a plane. I would think that would be enough to tell you who I am. Obviously I knew nothing about you or Mike or David when the murder happened, and I was just a shocked as everyone else when the arrest were made. Months before, I had just started hanging out with David again, and for years I was crushed that he was in prison. I seriously disliked Big Mac and I wasn't at all bothered when he was gone. I also never understood what was accomplished by you David and Mike going to prison. Not that I liked or cared much about Mike and his fate, but all these years, I've wanted to ask you why it was important to you to go to the police. You knew you were on your way to prison once you talked to the police, and I just never understood what positive thing that did for you, your kids, or anyone else including Big Mac. If you still read the post here, and if you feel ok about posting your reasons, I'd love to hear. Like I said, I've been checking back here for a few years to see if I'd ever get that answered. We were friends for awhile, then not so much, but I wish you and crystal all the very best (I've heard you guys were still together don't know if that's true or not) I liked her a lot and hope life treatted her well. Also, I was sad when I heard Bob was gone, if you know what happened to him, I would love to know. He defiantly wasn't someone that should have ever been involved with us. I was always thankful he wasn't hurt that night.

John Sheridan said...

I remember you well. Hope life is treating you good.

I'm not going to go into why I did what I did. It's already been put out there and it only gets people making comments which I'm tired of dealing with honestly. I bet even this response will bring in some comments. :)

David and myself are both lucky because we got a second chance at life. I also got a second chance at being a father and a husband. Yes, Chrystal has stood by me for over 23 years now. She's doing well and says to tell you hello.

I miss Bruce and remember the fireplace incident well.

I was away when Bob passed. I heard he died of heart failure. He was in his car at a fast food place when he was found.

Carl Salvati also passed away two years ago this month.

Anonymous said...

I perused most of this blog and it seems that everyone has forgotten about Bridgit the Iranian dancer who lost her life on the tarmac of Long Beach airport years before McKenna's death. She was with friends from The Jet Strip (now the BE) at the time.

Anonymous said...

The ex-wife of McKenn'a Hitman (Millicent Sheridan) is a published author and I just read her poetry book 'My Secret Codes' on Amazon-Kindle. I reached out to her PR team who declined to comment. I just interviewed a witness who said he knows 'all parties involved' and claims rumors of a Hollywood cover-up involving Rocky himself, yes....Stallone is now a part of the McKenna Murder saga I'm working on. This witness claims to have worked with both Millicent Sheridan and John Sheridan at a Hollywood Burlesque Club in 1985. Witness claims that 'our favorite action star-Sly Stallone was going to have John Sheridan murdered in 1987 before Sheridan became a murderer in 1989. Anyone with information please post.

John Sheridan said...

Well Anonymous, it appears you're the one with all the information so please do tell.

John Sheridan said...

Bridget aka Maci died about a year after Big Mac in a terrible accident.

Anonymous said...

To: John Sheridan

You are witty; but I do not have all the information. In truth this plot twist seemed a bit fantastical, but this witness seems credible and has showed me beautiful photos your young family and video footage of a TV show featuring your first wife, you and newborn child on CBS 'Two On The Town' episode "SIN CITY" at the time time in question. Witness states that your life was seriously threatened by Stallone starting in 1987 after your narcotics arrest; which only pulled you further into cocaine-alcohol disparity. I've extensively read all your blog-posts. You are well liked for the most part on this blog. While reviewing the 2001 TRUTV transcripts of Curt Rothschiller (retired VC law enforcement) describing you as 'a caring, charming, great family man' fascinates me, because law enforcement officials do not ever 'sing the praises' of a so called 'killer-for-hire'. LATIMES archive article after your arrest, you stated 'if you had not have DONE-IT; it makes sense you/your family would've likely been 'silenced' by the criminal elements around you. Can you please confirm if you and your ex-wife were friends with 'BLAKE' the DJ/lighting designer at 'The Body Shop' in 1985 where you and your ex-worked and Stallone frequented? This 'on-the-record' witness is making amazing claims that you are 'the nicest guy and Hitman in the world'; and this is where I'm focusing my research currently. He's also stating on-the-record; that while your 18 year old first wife was pregnant is when Stallone first started his sexual pursuit of her, with complete disregard that you were newly-weds. Did you ever have any personal issues with Sylvester Stallone at any time from 1985 until 1990/1991?

John Sheridan said...

Rather then discuss all this on here. If you really want to talk, and you can find me, and we can talk.

Anonymous said...

I talked to Mac at the club the night he was killed
Does any one know what happened to all of his money?
He may have had 20 million or more put away

Anonymous said...

Like a lot of contributors to this thread, I just stumbled onto it when Googling for information on Big Mac's murder. Interesting to see how it's turned into something of a place to reconnect and reminisce.

My friends and I were regulars (practically once a week) at the Jet Strip/Bare Elegance on Imperial Highway just east of the 405 back in the '86-'88 timeframe. We were a bunch of fairly innocuous knuckleheads, late teens, pretty clueless, but dealt with the dancers respectfully and were treated nicely in return. A typical visit would be preceded by a trip to the bank where we’d get stacks of brand new, crisp, uncirculated ones (just a bunch of broke college kids back then!), then we’d roll over to the club for some good times. I used to fold all sorts of crazy origami dollar bill creations for the girls.

The dancers we mainly hung out with were Princess, Laura, Brandy, Tiffany and Heather. We sorta knew Bridgit (actually Macy Rahgozar) as well, but weren’t aware of her tragic passing in 1991. There was another dancer we saw quite often named Asia, but she didn’t really hang around with us much. Other girls came and went over time.

Princess and Laura were two of the older dancers (early-mid 30s), and were good friends. Princess, who I hung out with the most, was probably the most legit accomplished dancer in the club. Cute little brunette with beautiful brown eyes and a wonderful smile/laugh. Laura was a taller blonde, laid-back and super cool. I remember one night Princess pointing out a young girl working behind the bar and asking if she looked familiar. There *was* something, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Turns out it was Laura’s daughter who she’d given up for adoption, and the two of them had recently reconnected. Brandy and Tiffany were a lot of fun, super playful. Brandy had invited my other two buddies to join her and her sister (and a pet monkey, as I recall) on a trip with them to Mexico. They were serious, my buddies were lame, and the girls flew solo down south of the border. The next time Brandy saw them, she was pissed and threw a packet of photos at them and said, “See what you missed?” Ahhh... to be able to go back in time. Youth is wasted on the young! Heather was a sweet, classy blonde beauty who one night had her little cash box with around $400 in it stolen while giving someone a private dance. I recall the guys and I chipping in to help replace some of it.

Over time my buddies faded away, and it was mostly me going in and hanging out with Princess. Like a lot of guys that age, I was super shy and totally awkward, and never developed any sort of relationship with her (or any of the other dancers, for that matter) outside the club. Never even knew their real names, for that matter. ZERO game back then, and only slightly better now. ;-) My tenure as a customer ran its course and I moved on, although I’ve always wondered how things turned out for our lovely lady friends.

On the subject of Big Mac, yeah, we saw him there often. He certainly filled up that little club! Never spoke with him, and to his eyes, I’m sure we just looked like another gaggle of wide-eyed teenagers forking over our meager pocket change. We weren’t really clued in as to some of the more sinister aspects of the club’s underpinnings. Prolly best that way. Ran into Magic Johnson one night in the parking lot as he and a friend were going in. Also spent some time chatting with a guy named Paul Sullivan who, I believe, was maybe working as a bouncer at the time. He was a bodybuilder looking to get into boxing. Super nice guy. Surprised to see him as one of the arm wrestlers in Over the Top with Sylvester Stallone. Even more surprised to see him years later in Bigger Stronger Faster, living out of his van and working out at Gold’s Gym in Venice.

Anyway, that’s my contribution to the storyline. I was mostly a bit player in the drama, but did have some good times in the club. Hopefully the girls went on to happy lives...

Anonymous said...

Quick correction on Macy's sad, fatal accident. It was September of 1990:


Anonymous said...

Jesse Turner, Macs childhood buddy and best friend passed away Wednesday of a . There will be a memorial serviceheart attack fter a 10yr fight with kidney failure and other various things. He loved to follow this blog and talk about how much fun they had back in the 70s and early 80s with the massage parlors and strip clubs. His services will be friday May 26, 2017 @ 11am, McCormicks mortuary. If anybody needs any other info you can email me @ timbug21@gmail.com Im Jesse's youngest son Tim. You guys be easy out there.

McCormicks Mortuary
635 S. Prairie Ave.
Inglewood, CA 90301

John Sheridan said...

I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your father Jesse Turner. I never knew your father but I did hear a lot about him.
The reason I'm posting inhere again is to try and get into contact with Rick Morton of the Orange County District Attorney's Office. He headed the Organized Crime Unit. He retired 4 years ago and I've lost contact with him. IF anyone who is on contact with him could let him know I'm trying to get ahold of himI'd appreciate it. My Email address is thechokemaster@gmail.com. Thanks for any help.

MW said...

Update: As of June 28 th Mike Woods is no longer in prison. He has been released.

John Sheridan said...

Yes Mike, I know you were paroled.

EL CHIP said...